Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Chocolate Tahini Banana Bread

Once I started making hummus (oops - I still need to post that recipe!) I have become slightly obsessed with finding new ways to use tahini.  It has the most delicious taste.  But I always thought of tahini as something you would use in a savory dish, until I made this bread.  OMG!  This is another MUST bake recipe,  The bread is so moist and the chocolate tahini adds a delicate cocoa flavor without the overwhelming sweetness normally associated with a chocolate spread.  It's perfection - really.

And it is super easy to make so there really is nothing from stopping you from trying this delicious breakfast, mid afternoon, any time of day treat!!!  (try warming a slice in the microwave for 20 seconds with a little butter on top... I am getting hungry again!

Chocolate Tahini Banana Bread

from the Soom website with minor changes

3 very ripe bananas
1/4 c. applesauce
1/4 c. good quality tahini (I use Soom)
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 t. vanilla bean paste
2 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. chocolate tahini

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper

In a large bowl, mash the ripe bananas  with the applesauce..  Add the tahini, eggs and vanilla and stir well to combine..  Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Fold these ingredients into the banana mixture.

Pour half the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
Melt the chocolate tahini in the microwave for 20-30 seconds.  Drizzle half of the chocolate tahini over the batter, swirling the batter with a knife to form ribbons.
Pour the remaining batter on top and repeat with the chocolate tahini.

Bake for 60 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes clean.

Allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing from the pan.  Finish cooling on a wire rack.

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Friday, May 17, 2019

Baby Rhino Shower Card

I cannot believe I overlooked posting this whimsical card.  It was definitely a challenge to come up with a baby shower card that highlighted a "rhino" theme.  I literally found one image that looked "cute" and inspired me to create this card which was surprisingly fun to make.  I never thought the words "cute" and "rhino" would go together, but this project changed my mind.

My neighbor's daughter is expecting her first child any day now and there was a shower for her last month.  They know they are having a boy and the nursery is being decorated in a rhino theme so that was my challenge.  Certainly there are a gazillion files for baby designs out there, but I wanted the card to fit into the theme, so after much searching, Miss Kate's Cuttables had the absolutely cutest baby rhino on the internet!!

Since I decided to have this little rhino peeking in the window, I had to make him a lot smaller and had no issues getting the tiniest detail with the Silver Bullet Platinum.

Look at those itty bitty toenails!!

And here it is assembled.

The window was cut from some my patterned paper stash and lined with acetate on the inside so
it looked like there was glass.  The writing was done with the pen tool in the Silver Bullet.  She sent me a picture showing it proudly sitting on top of the baby's dresser - just waiting for his arrival!

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Saturday, May 11, 2019

Happy Mother's Day

It wasn't until I became a mother that I fully realized what an incredibly taxing and rewarding job it was - and that every day should really be Mother's Day - right?!?  There is no job that requires you to be on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week ... no breaks!!!  Crazy!  But..... the pay is not measured in dollars and cents but in  the countless rewards of enjoying each milestone in your child's life and feeling your heart swell when they look at you with love and delight.  The only thing better than being a Mom, is being a Grandma! :)

But today, the focus is on my Daughter in Love who is expecting their second child in about 6 more weeks..... that is coming up so fast!  I had so much fun making this card for her and was my first time doing anything like this.  My fingers may have been glued together when all was done, but the end result was worth it.

I normally do not make 3D paper creations.  I am in awe of the multi-dimensional structures that so many create and love the results.  I was just never sure I had the patience for it.  But this project seemed like a good place to start to get over my reluctance to try something new - and I am so glad I did!

I learned a lot with this first project, but we all have to start somewhere and I am eager to try another project like this soon.

This daisy zig zag card is from 3D Cuts. The centers of the daisies are cut out of a paper velvet to add some interesting texture.  All of the card stock is from Paper Temptress.
It would be fun to use this basic file and create some other flower "tops."
I will undoubtedly leave that to those who have the talent to design
and I will happily benefit from their talents and make more cards!

This is how the card looks folded and ready to be inserted
into an envelope.  It folds pretty flat and is so neat.

I enlarged the card tag that was part of the file so I had room
for a larger greeting.  I flipped up some of the petals to give the daisy a more
dimensional look.  And the white background paper is covered in
translucent yellow Nuvo Drops. They look really shiny in person.

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Thursday, May 9, 2019

Egg Roll in a Bowl

The concept initially threw me, but this was actually delicious and very Keto friendly.  I used varying ingredients from three different recipes, substituting and adding according to what I had on hand.  Sometimes you just do NOT want to make one.more.trip. to the store!  Such was the case with this dinner, and since I didn't know how it would have tasted if I had used just one recipe in total, I can say wholeheartedly that this morphed creation was actually really good!


adapted from Pinch of Yum, The Girl Who Ate Everything, and Simply Scratch

1 T. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 t. fresh grated ginger
1 t. Chinese five spice
1 lb. ground pork
1 pkg. coleslaw mix
2 carrots, shredded
1/4 c. liquid aminos or soy sauce
1 T. toasted sesame oil
1 T. Shaoxing rice wine
2 t. toasted sesame seeds
3 green onions, sliced
Cauliflower rice or jas,ome rice

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the ginger and garlic and saute for 1-2  minutes.  Add the ground pork, five spice and soy sauce or liquid aminos.  Break apart until the meat is browned and cooked through.

Add the coleslaw mix and carrots.  Then add the rice wine, toasted sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds.  Toss frequently until the cole slaw starts to wilt.

Serve over cauliflower rice* or jasmine rice and garnish with the green onions and additional sesame seeds.

* I like to roast the cauliflower rice to give it a richer flavor. Pin It Now!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Salted Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know.... I know....... tahini belongs in hummus and only in hummus - right??  Well that is what I thought up until recently.  I have been seeing recipes scattered over the internet and favorite food blogs utilizing tahini in a variety of ways and I just didn't have the courage to try any of them.  But this one just spoke out to me - I mean tahini is just sesame seed paste so  how could a slightly nutty  ingredient be bad in a chocolate chip cookie??  So I gave it a try and let me tell you - there is no turning back now!  I have 2 jars of tahini on regular delivery from Amazon to make my favorite hummus from Molly Yeh (recipe share soon) and now these cookies and anything else I can find. These are my new favorite cookie and of my neighbors who have tried them have raved about them - there has not been one naysayer in the group.  These are a MUST bake as soon as you are feeling like venturing out of your comfort zone. They are a little more work - chopping the dark chocolate and chilling the dough - but trust me.  These cookies are worth every bit of effort.

And I have every intention of trying new recipes with tahini because it is just delicious to save for only hummus and cookies - so stay tuned!!


adapted from Simply Scratch

4 c. all purpose flour, unbleached
2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 c. unsalted butter, softened
2/3 c. tahini (I like Soom Premium Tahini)
1 c. raw cane sugar
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1/2 c. dark brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 t. Mexican vanilla (preferred, but regular is fine)
10 oz. dark chocolate bar, cut into chunks (I used Trader Joe's 72%)
flaked sea salt (Maldon is excellent)

Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a small mixing bowl and whisk together. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the softened butter, tahini and sugars on low until well combined.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.  Add one egg at a time and beat on low just until well mixed.  The vanilla can be added in with the last egg.

Gradually add the flour mixture in and beat on low just until combined. Do a little at a time or it will fly everywhere!
Mix in the chopped dark chocolate.

Use a one tablespoon scoop and make cookie dough balls.  Place on a rimmed baking sheet (lined with parchment is optional but makes cleaning easier)  and refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375.  Prepare another baking sheet with parchment and place 12 chilled cookie dough balls on the sheet.  With the bottom of a small glass, slightly flatten the cookies.  Return the unused dough balls to the refrigerator in between batches.

Bake for 9-10 minutes.  The cookie edges should be barely browned.  Remove from the oven and lightly sprinkle with sea salt flakes and allow to cool on the baking sheet before placing on a wire rack to finish cooling.  Repeat with the remaining dough.  This makes about 5 dozen medium sized cookies.

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